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J Altern Complement Med. 2006 Sep;12(7):615-23.

Changes in FMRI in the human brain related to different durations of manual acupuncture needling.

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  • 1Key Laboratory of Nuclear Analysis Techniques, Institute of High Energy Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, People's Republic of China.



The present study is aimed at evaluating the effects of manual acupuncture with different durations on the human brain using functional magnetic resonance imaging.


Eighteen healthy right-handed volunteers were divided into three groups randomly. Each group received only one kind of acupuncture on the right LI4 (Hegu) point, which lasted 30 sec, 60 sec, or 180 sec, respectively. Fix-effect and conjunction analysis were used to compare the effects of the three kinds of acupunctures.


The results indicated that the stimulation of manual acupuncture with different durations could induce different effects in the central nervous system on the human brain. The longer duration of manual acupuncture might induce more significant areas.


The present study provided not only neuroimaging evidence for manual acupuncture, but also a useful guide for clinical applications of acupuncture. In addition, the results might be helpful to understand the relationship between the central nervous system responses and the durations of acupuncture.

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